In its social entrepreneurship initiative of October 2011, the European Commission had committed to putting in place 11 key actions to improve the access to finance, visibility and legal environment of social enterprises. As things stand, nine of these have already been carried out and the other two (mapping and a database of labels) are coming up soon.

As for the regulatory framework, the following measures have been taken:

- Creation of a regime for European social entrepreneurship funds, which allows investors to clearly identify investment funds whose main aim is to invest in social enterprises (Regulation No 346/2013)

-aCreation of a programme for employment and social innovation (EaSI), which allocates 85 million under the heading of microfinance and social entrepreneurship (Regulation No 12/2013)

-aReform of the Structural Funds, which encourages member states to assign part of the European Social and Regional Development Funds to financing social enterprises

-aSimplification of the rules in terms of state aid for social services and local services. The European Parliament has recently given its approval to reform of public procurement to place more emphasis on quality in awarding contracts and to better take into account the working conditions of people involved in the production of goods and services being tendered. The new rules are to be applied within two years.


Two years after publication of the communication, there is still, however, one legislative proposal that has not been adopted. This would create a European statute for foundations. Social enterprises can take on different legal forms (foundation, cooperative, mutual fund or association) as long as they trade and generate revenue thanks to the production of goods and services. Twenty years ago, the Commission had proposed creating a European statute for cooperative societies, associations and mutual funds. The project relating to cooperative societies led, in 2003, to Regulation No 1435/2003, which may now be reviewed due to its complexity. The two others had been shelved in 2005 for lack of "decisive progress in the legislative process". In February 2012, the Commission, therefore, came back with a draft European statute for foundations. But the Council, which has to decide by unanimity, is again struggling to reach agreement. Several countries, including Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands, are reluctant about the principle. Others have difficulty with...

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